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Oi, it’s another short one again! Remember if you want to donate to Black Witch because my transmission is still le dead, please feel free to do so. Donation run basically ends at the end of this month.

Darius Benson
This viner I found through various funny skits on Tumblr and even funnier skits on Youtube from Vine Compilations. (However, I found him while trying to find Black girl comedy vines. I know there’s Alley Cat but if there are others, put them in the comments). I like his skill, he’s very comedic and extremely talented:

What I like most from his comedy is that it is not brash nor stereotypical. It’s not chicken jokes, watermelon jokes or “thirst” misogynistic/misogynoir jokes, which aren’t really funny. I like seeing Black folks do comedy, we’re really good at cracking a joke, it just sucks when you have to watch them say jokes that sound like they stemmed from Birth of a Nation. Benson shows his extensive creative skill in his humor and writing. Here’s a compilation below:

He’s know for Frozone, Hip Hop Disney and most recently the Rap Lecture trillogy, which I really like:



Check him out on Vine, Youtube and Twitter!

“ThumbThugging”
Dormtainment can be pretty comedic but sometimes their comedy seems more for Black guys than for Black folks, period. I remember them from their earlier days, I think I may have posted “Ballin’ on a Budget” on here because the song and video were comedic and well done. They did well with that but then there were comedy vid (and vids from interactions with female fans) that made one wonder if they stumbled into a barber shop.

One of their more recent creations, “Thumb Thugging” was very creative and interesting. I really like how they took the subject of forever being on the internet and interacting with social media and intermixed it with classic throwback movies like “Friday”, “Dead Presidents”, “Set it Off” and “Paid in Full”.

“Not All Snowmen”

This was a quick one but it was too hilarious, I had to share. Created by RageNineteen:

Alright, everyone. Next week is Ask Black Witch. It’s been an odd month but I’m still going to try to answer questions. If you have them, send them. Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Send ’em in.

So, Who’s Winning?

Hopkins Update: Turns out I still have to run donations! Ugh, yay being broke. I simply have to extend donations to the rest of this month. Why? Well, remember when I mentioned that my car’s transmission gave up on life? Well, repairs are going to be $5400. And hooray, I have a new gig… that needs a car to get to. So as I suffer with Maryland transit, please do donate. I will streamline this strictly for Paypal for ease of donation and telling folks to donate. Donate here. And Hopkins still have not responded to EEOC requests. And speaking of Hopkins, I’m not going to make a masterpost, after all. Too much work and I already tag things as it stands.

Right now, between dead car, new job that I need dead car for, dealing with Hopkins University still not responding to their EEOC notice (literally taking months to respond and get this mediation section over with), I feel pretty easily ran down. Only thing I know as a certainty is the cop that raided my apartment over missing rare books is currently being investigated. If anything, I’ve really just been focusing on the US primary to kinda pass the time. Yep, I’m so deeply screwed and traumatized from my experience that I am literally focusing on the race to the White House for mental stimulation/relaxation. Or watching endless cat videos. Because my brain feels absolutely friiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiied, like, Southern-deep-fryer-at-a-carnival friiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiied. Hence, why I pay attention to raw data and kitties.

This would be the third election I would be able to participate in (no thanks to Hopkins and the officer, still steamed about that whole “trash my apartment and tried to pin three counts of a felony (Grand Larceny) on me” thing. Kinda not cool.) I remember during the last election, I was working at the Library of Congress, which was really interesting. Because, frankly, your vote actually does matter – that and I got cool stuff from “Congress Move Out Day” for those who didn’t get reelected. Huzzah.

Oi, the current pass of elections is something outrageous. Usually, every election year is a media circus but this year is quite uncanny. I’m actually an Independent (meaning, I think both parties suck) but all I have been doing is keeping track of primary numbers, because Primaries are a combination of a numbers game and popularity contest. I’m none too surprised that Trump is pretty much bagging the GOP nomination. Everyone from general news to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) have pretty much said there’s a major uptic in hate rhetoric, hate group memberships and people being antsy about the subject in general. Trump ran for president back in 2000, didn’t do so well and simply decided to do so now again and simply up the “I hate everybody…except for ‘true Americans'” ante that Republicans tend to tout.

Usually, I would be try to be at least a teensy bit objective and factual about elections and things like that (I actually wrote a “Let’s Vote” column with all information) but alors, this is mental. The reason this is mental for me is the same reason why this is mental for anyone who isn’t White: the dude does have a Hitler-y likeness in his fevor. Now, I know, there’s the internet rule, the “Godwin law“, where if you talk about a subject long enough (and with enough White people around), eventually Hitler will be mentioned. However, with this current instance with history, I can certainly see the parallel. Working at the Library of Congress, I’ve had the chance to look at a lot of interesting documents that record some of the crappier parts of history. There is a lot of them…and it is indeed nightmare fuel. (I should talk about the day I had to deal with books talking about the illicit organ harvesting in China, the drawings from N. Korean detainees and other really horrible instances of humans being human someday.) This Trump character definitely suits the bill to the point you may want to ask him about watercolors.

I know there are probably people who are going, “Ehhhhh, everyone is considered evil when they’re running for president as a Republican,” but this time, it is different. This dude will make Bush W. look like a decent – but goofy – president. Bush still may not know how to say “nuclear” but at least he had his dad there to explain “it isn’t a toy, you can’t go waving it around like it’s a gun.” Trump just has his thin skin and thick ego. Baaaaaaaaaaaad combo, especially for the most stressful job in the US. You need tact, skill, due dilligence, and an IQ that’s not the equivallent to two bb’s in a tin can.

That and Trump is a Birther, a person who demanded President Obama fork over his birth certificate to prove that he’s an American…but is usually part of the party (GOP) that didn’t do the same to McCain (Panama) or harsh Cruz (Canada) about it. The thing about birthers is that, the core of their thinking is literally “Obama can’t be a US citizen because he’s Black. He has an African last name and an Arabic middle name. He must be Muslim and not American. Because Americans are White and Christian.” Seriously. And non-Black minorities/PoC thought that they were the only ones treated like outsiders in their own country. Newp. Basically, birthers are pretty racist people. Their thinking is powered by racism, their idea is borne from racism, they are racist themselves. They’re Klan-lite. And the head of Klan-lite has an actual shot at being the president.

If people are still going “Ehhhhh, ‘Klan-lite’ isn’t the same as ‘plain Klan’. Still a case of being Henny Penny,” either you’re not Black or you’re not aware of American history: The Klan are a terrorist group. As in, they’ve done bombings (including churches, usually American get emo when a church is attacked…unless it’s a Black church, then it’s excuses for days), they’ve thrown acid on Black Americans, strung Black Americans up trees (including Black Americans just returning from war and in their military uniforms), everything that kinda makes a group count as a “terrorist group”. There’s nothing terroristic the Klan hasn’t done. Buuuuut somehow the Taliban and Daesh/ISIS are scarier. Because Islam. To be anywhere on the Klan spectrum, especially in the eyes of a Black person, is bad. Very bad. Because eventually it blows into full-on hate and have that person be a president in a nation that’s still very much prejudiced and bigoted…it’s gonna be a problem. Like a problem that will involve camps. America has shoved its own citizens into camps before (Japanese Americans in the internment camps during WWII (and note, never were Germans or Italians rounded up)), there’s not really a whole lot to stop this from happening again. I mean, we already have a prison industrial complex and a lot of racialized feelings in regards to criminality in America. That’s actually a good chunk of what Trump is tapping into for votes, a successful tactic. Basically, Trump is scary because people will be disappearing. Muslim and brown folks started getting followed and shipped to gitmo right after 9/11 and that was Bush. Trump will go way worse.

Alright, enough about Trump and how he’s pretty bad news for anyone who isn’t White. Back to numbers!

As I previously mentioned eariler, I keep track of the numbers, not the hype, of who is doing well and who is not. I actually just type “primary results” into Google and I get a handy-dandy graph divided between Republican and Democrat parties. Just type it in yourself and see what you find. These numbers are very useful for me because otherwise I would get bewildered from all the media hype and I’m already bewildered enough. Sometimes I read articles but only if they’re fairly factual.

About articles, I always wondered why people thought Trump entering the race was a joke. There’s no reason why to say “He couldn’t be serious.” If someone wants to be president and they’re putting their hat in the ring with earnest, then it’s fine to take them seriously. Besides, American history is rife with walking jokes running for president, and a few who actually made it in. Ditto for any American political office. We’re not exactly the nation of frumpiness and intelligence. Besides, I doubt people who took Trump’s current run as a joke are laughing now.

That’s all the Black Witch for now! Sorry this was late, everyone. I spent all Thursday and Friday fighting with the mechanic over the bill and trying to get new job settled. My brain is completely full of static because I have so much on my plate. Please donate if you can!

Alrighty then, let’s talk about a subject that I don’t usually broach: hair. I don’t really care about it but as it has come up a lot in recent days, let’s get down to it and all its nonsense politics.

As of recent, Beyonce put out a visual album called “Lemonade”. It definitely seems the whole world wound up watching it. I usually don’t care for anything Beyonce since I grew up with Destiny’s Child, as well as countless other acts such as 702 and Total, therefore it’s all just background sounds but I definitely saw the artistic visuals (I’m a sucker for short films) so I gave it a go. I never thought people would hyperfocus on the phrase “better call Becky with the good hair”…but then again, I’m Black and I forgot that Beyonce has a multitude of White fans, who took this and ran with it like a Klansman with a people-hunting license.

Ok, if you’re White (mainly White girls) and you’re saying “I’m Becky with the good hair”, to a Black person’s ears, you just said, “Segregation now, intergration never. Trump for president. Why don’t Black people bleach their skin and straighten their hair if they want to be accepted? Ugh, dirty porch monkeys.”

No, seriously, all that in one teeny phrase. This is why blindly stealing cultural terminology, idioms and phrases are a bad idea.

If you’re thinking, “Beyonce said all this about herself! I thought she liked being Black!” She does. When a Black person talks about a “Becky with the good hair”, she’s saying: “I am culturally disrespected time and time again because my skin is dark, my hair is nappy. I’m forever devalued, regardless what I do because I have ‘bad’ hair. Everyone likes you more if you have that ‘good’, straight hair like White girls do. What bullsh*t.” It’s mainly racist when a White person says it, an expression of the existence of racism when a Black person says it, and I’ll be going into the why below.

Let’s break it down in two compartments: “Becky” and “Good Hair” because I think if you’re going to be a mentally dense White girl (a ‘Becky’), you may want to get it straight, especially if you’re the feminist type – doubly so if you have a Tumblr because frankly, this is really stupid.

“Becky”
We’re going to start here with some history. Actually, no, we’re going to start here with a reference from the extremely well-written column from Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas, titled “Where ‘Becky’ Comes From, and Why It’s Not Racist, Explained“:

“For years, ‘Becky’ has been used as a general reference for a particular type of White woman….It’s actually easier for me to say whether a White woman would be considered a Becky than it is to explain the criteria. Hillary Clinton? Not a Becky. Natalie Portman? Not really a Becky. Taylor Swift? The Beckiest. Iggy Azelea? Darth Becky. There are several theories on its etymology, but the one that makes the most sense is that it stems from the first line of ‘Baby Got Back.’

“Oh, my, god. Becky, look at her butt”

And cue to the video in reference! “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix ALot, everyone. Pay suuuuuuuuuuuper close attention to the intro.

In the intro, the unnamed girl is talking to her friend Becky and this is what she says:

“Oh. My. God. Becky, look at her butt. It is so big. She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends. Who understands those rap guys, ugh? They only talk to her because she looks like a total prostitute, okay? I mean, her butt. It’s just so…big…ugh, I can’t believe it’s so round – it’s like, out there – I mean, ugh, gross. Look! She’s just so…Black.”

And then we go into the song that is worth its own race x gender deconstruction but here ya have it, the whole kit and kaboodle. This name, Becky, is what stuck. (I can already hear some apologist going, “technically, Becky never said any of that, so it isn’t her to blame so [blah blah blah bs]”, dude…no one cares. Also, it isn’t like Becky ever says, “Chill it, Sarah. She’s ok the way she is, gawd. You’re, like, so racist. No wonder Chad cheated on you at the Spring Formal.”) Now, this first line was an ear catcher then and, trust, it is now. Nicki Minaj sampled that exact line “Oh. My. God. Becky, look at her butt,” for her pop song “Anaconda”. Actually, I believe Sir Mix ALot added to it with the hook “My anaconda don’t/My anaconda don’t/My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hon.”

This, in academia, is what you actually would call “cultural intertexuality”. It’s nifty and all over the place in hip hop…because it’s a creative art form, like any other art form.

Alright, back to the racist duo, featuring Jank and Silent Becky. This is what White girls unknowingly are refering to, time and time over when they’re referencing Beyonce in “Lemonade”. Not smart. Actually, Young references what a “Becky” stereotype is:

“Admittedly, referring to White women as “Becky” isn’t particularly nice, but it’s ultimately a reaction to a certain type of privileged young White woman who exists in a state of racial obliviousness that shifts from intentionally clueless to intentionally condescending. “

I agree. And if any White girl thinks “Becky” is a slur…uhhhhhh, and “Shaniqua/Pedro/Ping-Ping/Ahmed” isn’t? White folks have been dragging us by our names for centuries. The difference is, “Becky” can still get hired, “Shaniqua” has to work twice as hard to get half as much as “Becky”. If anything at all. “Becky” doesn’t make people talk down to you like “Shaniqua” does, even if you’re decorated with degrees. “Becky” doesn’t get the worst assume of her, “Shaniqua” is treated like a criminal from the start. “Becky” isn’t a slur because it’s literally just a name to the rest of society, no baggage. “Shaniqua” has the opposite effect. And if a White girl thinks “Becky” is still a slur, how come it isn’t used against her in common media? How come no one asks her “Why did your parents name you that?” or told “I can’t pronounce that”? “Becky” isn’t a slur, “Becky” is how Black folks, primarily Black women, can commiserate with other Black folks, primarily Black women, about the fact that dealing with Whiteness as the ideal, especially gendered Whiteness, is a real downer.

Even when White girls think that they’re being tongue-in-cheek cute by calling themselves “Becky”, they’re kinda saying “I’m White and proud of it” without throwing up the “Heil Hitler” salute. (Same for “basic”, they’re just saying they’re “worthless, White and proud of it”. That’s just pathetic.) Basically, to the ears and eyes of Black folks – primarily Black women – this is how it comes off:

2016-05-05-22-21-49.png

But hey, they do have what is culturally defined as “good hair”. And there’s a chance one of them may actually be named “Becky”. They’re just *really* proud of that fact.

Remember, Black girls have a massive hill to climb because of misogynoir (the combo hatred of race and gender). We’re always ragged on by everyone, from mainstream society to even in Black culture, about Whiteness and how we don’t add up. Bottom of the totem pole, last one picked, you get the idea. In Black culture, there’s even an idea of “marrying up” when you have a White partner, especially for a Black guy. Because of that ideal, that means the most basic Becky can show up, and she’s a hot commodity (think about the rise of Iggy Azelea) but a Black girl means nothing until she does something about her skin, body features and that hair….Oooh, that nappy, headed hair has got to go! ‘Cuz she ain’t gonna find herself no man until she got some good hair he can run his fingers through.

Speaking of ingrained cultural bullsh*t, let’s get to the second part:

“Good Hair”
Ahh, the hair debacle. If you’re a White girl, you’ll never have to go through this. Black? It’s a load of misery, regardless of texture.

It was an absolute pain for me when I went natural (stopped straightening my hair) because, maaaaaan, is Black hair politicized to the point I felt like I needed a Post Doc just to buy shampoo and a comb. It’s the first thing everyone will pick on in regards to success in life for a Black woman/girl. Wanna get a job? “You’re not gonna straighten your hair? They won’t hire you.” Wanna get a date? “No one is gonna love you with that Angela Davis nonsense you got on your head. Men don’t care about that, they like straight hair.” Wanna be seen as not threatening? “You look like a Black Panther. Lolz, why do you hate White people? All I said was it was ‘All Lives Matter’ makes more sense than ‘Black Lives Matter’.” Wanna have your humanity respected? “I just had to pet you, you remind me of my dog! So fluffeh! I just wanna shave it all off, stuff it all in my pillow and sleep on it” Wanna buy shampoo that’s for your hair texture? “Try the ‘ethnic’ aisle. It will be an arm and a leg. But there are perm kits there, too! Get all that ‘jungle’ out your hair and look cute.”

Now, let’s get into the Bad Hair/Good Hair debate.

Thankfully, there’s India Arie “I Am Not My Hair” music video to give us all a great starting point.

To pinpoint, her description is “Good hair means curls and waves/Bad hair means you look like a slave”.

Y’see, “good” hair emulates mainly European hair, which is a “nice” curly to an “ideal” straight. “Bad” hair basically means you have African ancestry because no one has hair like us. In its natural state, Black hair can break combs, be absolutely huge, and – when not cared for correctly – be a big pain in the rear for the person who decided to go natural.

Good hair/Blac- I mean, Bad hair has been ingrained in Black folks since we were first dragged here. Ditto with skin bleaches and “fixing” your nose. To get straight hair, you have to chemically alter it or use plain fire-like heat. You’ll have chemical burns on your scalp (just google the ingredients on a Black hair perm kit…try the brand “African Pride”. (Yes, the name. The internalized racism)) or third degree burns on your ears and scalp. But society will like you better for it, though! Just yells “Less dangerous” and “not angry” and “totes believe racism died when Obama went into office.” Don’t like using harsh science to fry your scalp? How about shelling out major cheddar for weaves, wigs and braids? Think you won’t need it? Fine, go see if you can land a job.

Actually, T-Pain said it best (yes, guys got their hair conked as well. What, you thought European ideals of beauty only affected Black Women?):

At this point in history, the present, Black girls are kiiiiiiiiinda tired of the “straight hair is good hair” chicanery. Especially with the waves of women going natural, the prejudice is still buried deep. Good hair should mean “hair that is well cared for, regardless of texture”, not “hair similar to White girls”. But still, it doesn’t. And it still can make Black women and girls feel like crap about themselves. Even Beyonce. Her hair is not naturally straight. If you’ve seen a picture of Solange Knowles, her sister, then you basically have a pretty accurate picture of what Beyonce’s hair would look like in a totally natural state. Why it isn’t in the natural state is perfectly up to Beyonce. Because it’s her hair. Because that’s how personhood works.

Luckily for everyone, there’s a documentary about this, called “Good Hair”, made by comedian Chris Rock. That’s where the T-Pain and co. clip came from. Here’s some more!

That’s a playlist of varied snippets. I really recommend watching the whole documentary. It is as comedic as it is informative.

And here’s a last bit from Tatyana Ali in her interview with VladTv, it’s really good.

Basically, considering yourself a “Becky with the good hair” is pretty insulting to Black people because of all the issue it’s brought us. Oh, and if you think you’re clever, Nivea thought the same with this ad:

2016-05-05-22-27-22.png

Yeah, not cool. It’s ok to say, “I have nice hair”, but don’t recite Beyonce on a socio-cultural and racially gendered struggle you literally have no idea about. It just sounds so…basic.

Alright, here’s what’s going on: first and foremost, if you would like to donate either through YouCaring or PayPal, please feel free to. Also, this update will be broken up into two posts because one post will be an update and the other post will be a Masterpost/Timeline so that everyone, me included, can stay updated. The Masterpost/Timeline will be continually updated as time goes on so it is a resource spot for the “Attack of the Blue Jays” series, also alternatively titled ”This is Hopkins’ or ‘How I Illegally Lost My Job'”.

This post is basically about my current situation, let’s go into that.

As of recent, I have been asking for donations (YouCaring/Paypal) because due to my situation with Hopkins (basically, illegally fired due to discrimination (racial, ability) based on ficitious reason (one of them being “suspicion of stealing lunches”), complained about it to EEOC and Hopkins’ Office of Institutional Equity, got raided by Baltimore City police thanks to Hopkins chalking up more ficitious reasons (no longer suspicion of yinking “lunches”, now “rare books”). When the police raided my apartment, it was actually a couple days after I started a new, sustainably paying job and thus, I wound up losing that job in short order.

Since my bills were stacking up pretty badly, I was worried I would lose my car and home, which is where you guys came in. Here’s where we are now with things:

Home Stuff
At the start, I had mentioned that my lease was about to be up by the end of April and that I was in the hole for over $1400, rent-wise. Just this month I was getting a major Second Notice, and a Final Notice roughly a week ago that more or less basically went, “pay us – now.” This, coupled with the lease and the raid, pretty much made me believe that I was going to be facing homelessness starting May 1.

Then I got this letter from the landlord, “M”:
2016-04-29-09-24-50.png

 

Basically, thanks to everything from the donations to this audit, I now owe $708 for May. This also implies that I have another month here at the very least. This is really nice. Still, however, $708 is a lot of money so if you still want to donate, please do (Paypal/YouCaring)

This is still a short-stay apartment (basically meaning I am really here as a holding spot until I can move to my more permanent apartment) but at least I can leave on my terms and not due to an eviction – which, if is on your record, makes it obscenely harder to get another apartment and ruptures your credit. How will I get to a new apartment the Hopkins/Baltimore Police tag team obliterated my last decent job? I found a new one finally that starts relatively soon, more details below.

Car Stuff
Due to all these back-to-back tragic happenings, I became super behind on my car stuff, namely “car note & insurance”. The thing is, not only is a car vital for mobility, it also aleviates the environmental effects on my trauma disorders (in other words, I can go outside and not derp out or be wracked with agoraphobic anxiety*), which makes it a need. I’m mainly caught up on car note, insurance is lagging along for a remaining $100.

While writing this, I actually got the price to fix my transmission for my car (not only is a car vital for mobility, it also aleviates the environmental effects on my trauma disorders The price to fix the transmission, which, according to the mechanic, is just shredded on the inside. The cited price of repairs is $5,400. That’s almost $200 more than I paid for the car ($5,200), which I got back in November. Yeap, I know, I totally got reamed on my very first car. As I’ve said before, please feel free to donate if you can. (YouCaring/PayPal)

The car is super important now than ever because I’ve sustainably paying work lined up! Hooray for finding a new job! The last time I found a sustainable paying job, I literally got raided two days after I started by the Baltimore City police, which subsquently made me lose the job. Granted, I never tire of folks that go “How come you couldn’t keep a job after being raided?” as if it’s the same as having an emergency doctor appointment. It’s not. You get your place trashed by super corrupt cops hired out by a rich & pissed university while on Day 3 of a new job while super broke and lets see how you fair – harassing phone calls , threats to freedom and safety and all.

Thus, I have to make sure I have reliable transportation. Speaking of corrupt cops and universities…

Cop Stuff
Alors, right now, the main detective that trashed my place and tried to pin me with three counts of Grand Larceny (a felony, everyone) based on total bs and being a Hopkins lap dog, Det. William E. Nickles, is currently being investigated for his actions by Internal Affairs. During April, we were supposed to mediate and instead of responding to anything from the mediators, Nickles ignored all requests. Just plain went ghost on everyone. Since he went ghost on everyone and ignored all requests for mediation (which would have benefitted him better than anyone else because he could have walked with a slap on the wrist, a “not-sustained” on his record) over something he did, he will be investigated in ernest. This is good. I prefer investigation over mediation. Investigation will take months, from up to a year to less than six months. It’s a long time but I want to focus on re-stabilizing myself and soundly. If that means I have to twist a copper up in his own wrongdoings, I’m cool with it.

Hopkins Stuff
Right now, Hopkins is still in “Mediation” mode from the EEOC. I really wish it were in “Enforcement/Investigation” mode because the sooner they get investgated, the better it is. Granted, I think the EEOC, my lawyer and Internal Affairs hopefully is enough to convince Hopkins to leave me alone. They’ve already done enough damage through their prejudice, I really don’t need more issues. Like, this is Emmitt Till-level overkill oppressive. Seriously, whatever they’re cooking up next to either bother me further or ruin my life some more, I really hope they just drop it.

As for the “Mediation” mode, they have a deadline to respond. They do what Nickles did, wait out the clock, it’s an automatic investigation. What the deadline is, I haven’t a clue of the exact day but I am fairly certain it ends in May. The sooner, the better. I just want this whole thing over and done. Especially when I have a new place to work at, starting in early May.

This is all the updates for now, the next post (update 8.5) will be the Masterpost/Timeline. It won’t be pinned so that everyone sees it but made to be referenced all the time.

* If a Hopkins lawyer notes this: please, for the love of the gods, research how trauma disorders work thoroughly. Don’t take this one phrase and go, “aha, potential psycho spotted”. Just research “PTSD” & “DID” and, seriously, be realistic. Then look under ADA and note that trauma disorders are covered. A disability is not sufficient grounds for firing and you guys should know that. Hopkins built their legacy on a hospital, geez.

Hopkins Update: I would say tomorrow is the very last day to donate to help me out with my issue with Hopkins University but there are some changes. Either way, you can donate either via YouCaring or Paypal. I’ll be making a masterpost/timeline either later today or tomorrow, with the major updates. Things are marginally better but still not great so please donate.

Hi so I met this guy called Guy McGee* through a Youtube channel, I know bad and he only has like 10 videos and they are all Music because he is in a band and he plays the drums but the first time I saw him I couldn’t take my eyes off him so we then became friends on Snapchat and then Facebook.
But we spoke once and I felt a real connection to him and I don’t wanna tell him coz he’ll think I’m weird but also he lives in a different country as well and I really wanna know there is anyway that he feels the same???? Plus if there is anyway that we will talk more??? and if there is anyway that we will become friends or more????

This has been playing on my mind for a long time and it has been driving me crazy I didn’t wanna it was past life even though it could be and I know this a lot but I would really love it if you could answer them. So thank you for reading it even if you do think Im crazy.:)

Hi so long story short I met this guy Called Dude McGee* he’s 18 and lives in America and I’m 17 and l live in the UK we have spoken once before. And I have had the odd message every now and then but I really like him and I don’t think he feels the same. I have had fights with friends and over this and lost my bested friend because of it. The main reason because I didn’t tell her. But he’s on my mind nearly every second of the day and I don’t know what to do. So if you could help I’d really appreciate it.:)

I forgot to say that he’s a lead singer in a band and I know it sounds bad and its meant to be that way but I feel like I met him before as well like in a past life and I feel in way drawn to him it’s probably my mind playing tricks bit that’s how I feel and I find it hard to explain

Hello I have a development to my concern he has started to talking to my friend a lot and he was the first one to pop up. So maybe he wasn’t for me but I have liked him for ages but she had a boyfriend but I have no clue what to do

– Genni M.

Firstly, the (*) is to imply that I’ve changed the name. Granted, the guy in reference had two different first names but the same last name so I replicated that. Also, this was a series of emails that basically tell a bigger story, thus I lumped them all together.

Alright, the basics of the story is that the person writing in likes a dude(we’re assuming it’s just one guy) who she has a crush on despite being far, far away. It really eats at her and even gets in the way of her friendships. Now it seems the apple of her eye has been chatting with her friend, who also has a boyfriend.

Now, I wasn’t really willing to do divination because I only do that around Halloween for the Samhain Pickers sweepstakes winners. Besides, this situation didn’t seem to need it.

One thing kiddo has to keep in mind is that just because you get to chat with musicians on the internet, they’re there to promote so of course, they’re gonna bring the charm because it’s good for business. However, this doesn’t mean they’re not people.

Granted, I said maybe she should have a sit-down talk with the guy she has a very apparent crush on but it can also been said this way as well: she’s reading too much into their interactions. Which isn’t insanity, it’s simply having a crush. That’s completely normal and natural, even if it makes you feel absolutely mental. Everyone goes through that.

However, if your infatuation is starting to dent your friendships, it’s time to pump the breaks. Firstly, it appears that you don’t seem to know where you stand with the guy you like. It’s important to discuss that and get on the same page with the guy so you know how each other feels. That should precede everything because it will determine all future interactions, good or bad. Just because the friend is talking to the guy doesn’t mean they’re hitching up…especially if they’re separated by a whole ocean.

I think the infatuation is coloring your perspective. It’s time to find some stable ground and have a chit chat to find out what is happening. Talk with not only him but talk with your friends as well because I’m sure they probably are fussing with you because of how much your crush is blinding you and your better sensibilities and they want the pre-crush you back.

I’m really interested in witchcraft but idk where to start. how did you start?

– reinadelaslesbianas

I started with books, really. My first book is Where to Park Your Broomstick by Lauren Manoy. I thoroughly enjoy and always suggest because of how well-rounded it is. That will give you a great starting place of what to do, what not to do and why.

I was wondering are you familiar with black witch’s b/c I have some questions about it if you could help me……I tried asking the church of god and they said to stop doing witchcraft and I laughed and hung up the phone…..I tried asking the church of satan hq in America and I guessed they were mad when I said demonic spirits…lol….they preached satan and said to join their church…..so can you maybe answer some of my questions…….jim

 ok here’s my question but it’s a story….I can provide details of everything if you want them……I’m a black witch….I used a spell to have someone die and he did in 1 week….since I was 4 I have seen demonic spirits and ghosts….I have been seeing spirits of dead people,animals,insects all my life….I want to know why I can see them…..also when I practice withcraft outside between 9 and 9:30pm a glowing white ring appears in the sky(kinda far away too) while I’m doing my chanting…the ring goes away when I stop chanting….also I tried spells between 7 and 7:30pm and a gray ring appears in the sky and goes away when I stop chanting…..I want to know what this means…do I have a special gift spiritually….please help me or know someone that can help me…..

– James C.

Goodness, why do people write as if they are breathless? Fantastic for stories, not so much for letters.

As a reminder to people, I call myself “Black Witch” because I’m a Black person that practices witchcraft. Not, “I practice left-hand magick” so I’m not a pro in that field if that’s what the question is in reference to. Continuing on, it seems you just simply are clairvoyant and really intuitive to sense and interact with entities around you. Not really a big deal, no great significance in my consideration. You just can do these things, hurray. I’d say “don’t kill people” but I don’t know the circumstances so I’ll just say instead that it’s primarily frowned upon ethically so use very strong discretion. I also don’t know if the magick killed the person and it isn’t coincidence but this letter isn’t really to contest that.

You gave me times but without timezones, so I haven’t much of a clue what the phenomena you’re describing is in reference to. It could be raised energy, it could be a better second sight, that I don’t know. Either way, you seem relatively gifted. I would recommend reading some decent theory books on energy manipulation. That could help as well.

Firstly, please donate. You can either donate via YouCaring or Paypal. Here are the amounts now:

Rent:$1217 $837

Car: $388

Insurance: $119

Just the rent remains and I’ve only a week left (up to April 30th) to pay it. That is when my lease ends and I’ve no clue what’s being lined up after that in terms of apartments. I really don’t know what to do but all I can ask is for everyone to donate. That, I would appreciate immensely.

For folks not in the know, this donation run is related to my illegal firing from Hopkins University, the raid that happened two months later, all for fictitious reasons and the whole series about it here, alternatively titled “Attack of the Blue Jays”.

I actually did two livestreams this week on the Black Witch Facebook Fan Page explaining the situation that I’m in. If I did those livestreams right (it was my first time and they derped a couple times each), they should explain everything, especially the daytime livestream. I possibly will do another tomorrow, a short one.

To recap the week, my mediation case with the officer that trashed my place, Detective William Nickles, was closed this week. This was due to the officer ignoring all requests for mediation, contacted a number of times for roughly two weeks. Welp, what happens now is that the case goes back to Internal Affairs, where he will be investigated about the raid.

As far as EEOC goes, I found that I can check my charge status online. So far, it is still in “mediation” stage. It has been in this stage for nearly two months, practically. Given my current situation, I really would like this to get a move on as well, to be fair, as I am already anxious enough. An investigation would make me feel better, honestly.

Right now, I am (hopefully) starting a new job soon. The “(hopefully)” is because the last time I started a new gig that could give me stability, Nickles decided to team up with Hopkins and make an absolute wreck of everything, including my life – hence why I have to ask for donations now. Hopefully Hopkins won’t cook up new surprises. I mean, I have a lawyer and even the number to the State’s Attorney office, I’m really tired at this point. Especially since everything could have been so easily solved well back in January with a simple talk. No going absolutely insane with all this “she’s a thief! We can’t prove it with solid evidence but she seems pretty…suspicious. Being crazy and Bla…suspicious” nonsense. Seriously, it’s getting super old being seen as inherently criminal for nothing.

The car, I have been talking about on and off, turns out to have major transmission problems. I thought I could fix this but newp. And it’s from driving it all over the place, from one job interview to the next and to the next, all over the state of Maryland. I may as well had roadtripped, with all the driving I did.

Please remember to donate, this week is super crucial.

Alright, super late update. Before we get to the bits and suches, let’s look at the donation run. You can donate either via YouCaring or Paypal but I noticed a lot of people prefer to use Paypal. Since Paypal does not have a gauge of how much is paid towards like YouCaring, here are the new numbers. I basically have been trying to pay off everything roughly at the same time.

Rent: $1,217
Car: $388
Insurance: $139

It’s a dent but still, there’s plenty to be done. I am working away at the the car stuff, it’s just rent that I’m most concerned about. I haven’t a single clue about what will happen for me, home-wise, by May 1. I have a six month lease that is up May 1st. I may be able to stay an extra month, I haven’t a single clue. Either way, I’m stressed. Donations are really crucial, especially in these next two weeks.

Now, I know the last time I did a donation run, I was a lot more persistent about it on social media, here, everywhere. This time, not so much. What changed?

Lack o’ car, being worn out from this situation and literally running about, gunning for a solution. Job interviews, looking for rent assistance, etc etc. With a car, I had better access to useful computers (my current computer has a wrecked screen (been that way since summer and thus packed away), never could replace it, right now relying on just smartphone and tablet as backups). This meant more frequent requests and such. It doesn’t mean this situation is somehow marginially better than last time – in some respects, it’s worse – I just have less resources to make the social media posts and regular posts. I’ll definitely try to be more persistent because help is super necessary here. With the car around, I can be more mobile.

As for car: I have mentioned how the transmission basically stopped working. I may have a solution for the transmission and will be working on that myself this week. I really hope I can get things back up and running. It is super difficult to interview and get around with no car. Baltimore doesn’t really have a functional public transportation system, especially in regards to access to sustainable, steady, jobs. However, to make do means more time taken to get from point A to point B, which is exhaustive.

As for mediation: Turns out the letter I got, the one I referenced back in the previous post, was part of a brand new process just recently instituted by the city. Here’s a write up from The Baltimore Sun on Feb. 1, 2016 basically detailing the process. Admittedly, I was surprised and confused because back then, when an officer was complained against, it would just launch an investigation and that’s pretty much that. Granted, it was not a perfect solution because it would take forever (roughly around a year) and still such a small percentage would be considered “sustained” (police version of “guilty”), but that’s what I was expecting. Now, I’ve okayed mediation (still skeptical but still gonna go), but the officer still hasn’t agreed or said anything with his side of the mediation offer. Here’s the kit and kaboodle: mediation doesn’t happen if both sides don’t agree to mediate, or if one side simply lapses for whatever reason. If it doesn’t happen for whatever reason, the investigation begins.

As for Hopkins: quiet and quiet. Still in “Mediation” mode. I feel like they won’t be making a move for a good long while.

This is still a nightmare of a situation. Please keep donating. You can also follow all that has been happening with Johns Hopkins University and I through the series/category called “Attack of the Blue Jays” because this has been going on since December. It is almost May. It has been roughly five months of issues and problems. It really is frustrating. I thought things would have been a lot further along than this. Or, y’know, over. I seriously thought this would be not too long or that I would be on the tail end of everything. I have no idea if this will take years. It’s already taking months. I mean, I would be perfectly fine with investigation going right about now. At least something would be happening while I live my life. With mediation, you have to wait and wait and waaaaaaaaaaaaiiit for seemingly nothing to happen.

Honestly, I wish I just acted faster with EEOC and Internal Affairs. There really isn’t a sufficient guide of “what to do if you’re illegally fired” and “what to do if they retaliate using city/state authority as intimidation”. If I had simply figured “OIE is going to not do anything”, I would have gone to EEOC back in December…oh wait, I did but I felt dissuaded because I literally didn’t know what to do. I tried calling and was told I was going to be put on hold for roughly an hour. I didn’t know that I had to go down to a local office, or go to this page, fill something out, submit it in and then basically wait. With Internal Affairs, I still wish I called it in a little sooner than I did but it’s really not cool that Internal Affairs is moving along a little quicker than EEOC. I mean, yeah, EEOC is national since they are part of the Department of Justice and Internal Affairs is something with Baltimore City, but still, I feel like my case has been sitting in “mediation” for a while. This is tiring. It was already bad enough with just dealing with Hopkins frankly being evil but geez. I really didn’t need the raid, I really didn’t need the frustration of waiting about, suffering and going through basically one tragedy after another after another. This is really a lot to pack on one person and absolutely none of this is easy to deal with.

Frankly, I’m dealing with it the same way any normal human being would deal with being illegally fired over fabricated claims and then their living space trashed by local law enforcement because of making a complaint: pretty crappy. There’s no point introducing unnecessary trauma such as sic’ing a crooked cop on me, forcing me to clean up my place after they trash it and basically be the direct reason I’m staring very potential homelessness dead in the face. I already have trauma disorders – it’s part of Hopkins’ reason for firing me (remember, firing someone for having a disability is illegal) – what is so necessary in doing all of this? To prove that I somehow really am an incapable worker? Dude, anyone – neurotypical or neurodivergent – tossed into my situation would be negatively impacted by this situation. I doubt anyone could deal with what I’m going through and be “ok”. That’s not really a thing. Yeah, humans can adapt to anything buuuuuuut a) that’s mainly physically because the mind tends to suffer in adaption, hence where mental disorders come from b) I noticed the word “collectively” tends to be forgotten because humans can collectively adapt to even the most treacherous situation but not with a 100% survival rate. This doesn’t even include collective and systematic oppression, where this is just another face in the conga line of bullsh*ttery. Does this mean a person better adapts to trauma if they’re subjected to it a lot practically from birth?

No.

That’s like saying “A little radiation could hurt you but if you’re exposed to it regularly, it’ll be fine.” Nah, that’s a recipe for cancer and other health ailments. Same with this, constant exposure to trauma and upset does not mean you get better adapted to it, exactly. The mind does adapt to even the most tragic of situations but the exposure is where trauma disorders like PTSD come from. And I’m sure trauma gets worse when it is systematic-induced in opposed to originating from one person (And the combination is quite awful). It doesn’t mean the person is “strong”, it means they probably have issues as a result of dealing with what they’re experiencing. Saying “oh, they’re so strong” is kinda crappy in and of itself. It would be smarter just to ask, “How are you doing? This seems like a scary situation, do you need help?” (of course, as long as you can actually help, giving pretend support helps no one).

Right now, the best you, the reader, can do is donate and spread the word. I’ll do my best to keep posting constantly so people can donate. I pretty much need all the help I can get. I want to resume to normalcy just like everyone else who is tired of reading about this.

Hopkins Update: Firstly, everyone please do donate. My life is getting down to the fine line, read the previous column here. Here is the YouCaring donation route and Paypal donation route. I have been in touch with someone from the Baltimore Sun. I got a mediation letter that doesn’t look like it’s from the EEOC or Internal Affairs. There’s so much bullsh*t happening, long story short. Anyone trying to stay updated about this issue with Hopkins University, check out the “Attack of the Blue Jays” category here. I wonder if this is any useful information for anyone who is planning to go to Johns Hopkins University.

Onward with the post:

I haven’t touched a book on magick for a while (Not including the books I owned that I had to put back in their forced-opened boxes over six hours back when my apartment was raided by police, thanks to Hopkins University) for a while. I think the last actual books on magick I’ve handled was some random book at Hopkins Library (there’s not a lot there for the subject) and a variety of books on metaphysics (including magick & alchemy) at the Library of Congress. The most I remember from the LoC was handling Rosicrucian journals. They were nifty reading. Surprisingly, I didn’t find a lot of super good stuff in that section of the Library of Congress, but the better stuff is scattered around the LoC. I should write a “How to find stuff/research at the Library of Congress” post one day.

The reason? I just don’t think there’s a lot of really good books out there that are entering my stratosphere. Like, I feel like I have advanced well past the beginner books and all the others books that I would want right now I already have. And what books are out there are really Western perspective, I kinda am done with having books from White authors, I think I have enough of those and there is more than enough out there. I just want more diversely written books.

To be honest, I lean towards academic books now because they have way more information than the newbie and Pagan books. That and I can find way more information that is really useful for knowing and to help me with my practices. Things like history, symbolization and culture. Otherwise, I will feel lost and hesitant, going “Whyyyyyyy does pomegranates mean ‘good dreams’ in this spell and what the heck is blue salt and why do I need it? Has this always been a thing?” Even if I still know a fraction of the info, I’ll still be unsure because welcome to academia and intellectualism: just because you think you know something doesn’t mean you can’t still be astoundingly wrong because you were too dumb to check.

I usually find good materials in libraries (it’s my career, of course I’m going to use the resources that I’m paid to provide for others) but mainly, I’ve been finding things via Tumblr through the meantime. I follow a number of Pagan and Witchcraft blogs and anything I find of note or of usefulness, I slap into my “magick” tag. Some of the blogs I follow are:

None of the witchy blogs that I follow or find major stuff from are White ran, I think. I think the only ones that potentially could be White-ran is just the catch-all blog, Low Budget Witches, which is really informative.

It’s just that Paganism is very diverse. Western Paganism pulls from a bevy of cultures, I rather follow people from those cultures or at least just looking at those cultures through a non-White lens. For me, I get more history, information and usefulness this way. It isn’t White-washed, dumbed down information usually and there’s a lot more background to the info because there’s just some things that reading dry academic books can’t tell you but someone related to the culture can.

The info I find is really cool but I’ve read enough to know to take things with a grain of salt and to fact-check everything. I like the info I find but I also know that I’m going to run it through several books to make sure I understand everything I’m reading. Witchcraft isn’t all random nonsense with candles, bells and whistles. Neither is Paganism, there’s a rhyme and reason to everything. It may look nonsensical to folks who never researched Paganism and learned about Witchcraft from television and movies but there’s a lot of background on it. I just need to know what it is before I proceed with anything new.

Honestly, I thought I wasn’t looking at anything new in Paganism and thought I was a kinda sucky Pagan because of it until it dawned on me that I was, I just wasn’t doing my usual: reading a cavalcade of books to get the information. Instead, I was taking the digital route, which is uncommon for me because books are a little more fact-checked than what someone can slap on a website. Yes, I am painfully aware that books can have really crappy information, I’m just use to the mental connection of “book=factual information, internet=potential brain fart” and it takes a while to change that thinking.

Huzzah, progress.

The reason why there wasn’t a small blurb on the recent column is because a lot has happened in the past week in regards to my Johns Hopkins University situation (You can follow the whole thing through the “Attack of Blue Jays”  category/tag. Here is the first post). Man, Hopkins is really making sure I have a miserable life, all for nothing. Here are the major updates and then we’ll open this up for another – you guessed it – donation run…but now with various methods to donate!

Office of Intuitional Equity (OIE, Hopkins’ dept.) – Since I have been talking to EEOC and Internal Affairs, I noticed I haven’t heard a peep from OIE since late-mid January. January 20th, if I am correct. It’s April.  I contacted them and guess what? They had ended investigation (they didn’t want to really tell me when the concluding date was) and wanted me to wait for the letter. I pushed to hear something faster because, frankly, it is bs that I had to contact them to hear anything back while EEOC and IA are trying their best to keep me in the loop. So I gotten a digital copy of the letter that basically said…

Hopkins has been cleared of all discrimination, so sayeth their own internal investigation. The letter also neglected to mention about how I was accused of stealing (it seems Hopkins’ dropped all stealing accusations, must be that “lack of proof” issue they have), and there’s nary a peep about the raid. Nothing. Nada. Basically, the letter (that is currently sitting with the EEOC and my lawyer so I can’t publish it because legal/evidence stuff) just tried to present me as the worst librarian ever…again, with lack o’proof.

Instead of accusing me of being a thief, they try to say my racism accusations are baseless and that it’s really a case of sour grapes. Instead of saying my supervisor and head of libraries’ HR explicitly told me at the dismissal meeting that their fear of my disorder is what is got me fired, OIE is stating that actually accommodations were made…somehow without the OIE Accommodations paperwork, doctor’s note and telling me. Which isn’t how accommodations for disabilities work. Yes, OIE did have me fill out Accommodations paperwork – all dated on Dec. 15 or afterwards. December 15th is when I was fired, you can’t make this paperwork retroactive.

Once I got this emailed letter, I contacted EEOC.

EEOC – Just today (April 4th), I signed and had date stamped the amended charge for the EEOC. You see, after I got this letter and read the chicanery that it was, I contacted EEOC on Thursday (March 31st), sent them a copy of this letter and asked to have my initial charge amended to include the raid that happened Feb 3rd as “retaliation”. Initially, when the raid occurred, EEOC was hesitant at first because this didn’t fall into the usual definition of retaliation (basically, “Employee complains to EEOC/OIE/Etc, all of a sudden employee is demoted/fired/harassed or just overall has a drastically crappier job experience.” Not “employee gets fired illegally, complains about it, gets raided by cops”). I showed them the OIE letter, noted the stark lack o’ words “stealing” and “raid” and it pretty much told them that since my charge is already is going to mediation, might as well slap the raid in the charge as “retaliation” because, honestly, it really couldn’t be anything else.

Despite the OIE letter (and partially due to it), EEOC still has their own bevy of questions to ask Hopkins. And the OIE letter didn’t really help abate the EEOC. Just stoked more questions.

Internal Affairs – I’m still waiting for the transcription to return from the statement I made about the raid back in February.

Where I Am Now In All of This
Now, we got all that out the way. Where does this leave me? More broke than prior!

How so? Well, remember when I remarked during one of the donation posts that I found another job and should be okay? Yeaaaaaah, thanks to the raid, that pretty much got obliterated.

This is because the new job that I was talking about (which paid even more than my Hopkins’ job) started Feb 1. The raid was Feb. 3. I discovered my apartment was trashed at 6 AM on Feb 4th because I had spent the night at a friend’s house after going to see a movie and the roads were too foggy/misty to drive on. I literally had no clue what was going on at home, that my apartment was getting shredded, thanks to Hopkins. It was during Feb 4th that I would basically have to call out (instead of march into to work at 8:30 AM like nothing happened) and deal with everything that I’m currently dealing with now.

When you’re starting a new job, it is ideal to be focused, on time and diligent. Or you get the ax. Thanks to the startling trauma of discovering my apartment has been trashed, finding out a Baltimore City Police investigator is trying to pin me with felony charges for books I never took using fabricated claims of evidence, the fact that it is because of Johns Hopkins University that I have had my apartment raided and I’m being treated so poorly…yeaaaaaaah, there’s no way I could have kept a new job through that. Oh, and I couldn’t really explain what was going on to the new employers because I’m sure it sounded like I was ripping off a really bad movie plot in attempt to avoid work. Even with just saying “My home was burglarized” (which is what I initially thought), it didn’t add up that an investigator needed to talk to me…immediately. Or that I needed a lawyer. Or anything that kinda doesn’t sound right.

So, I got the send off shortly after. I’m sure Hopkins would love to use this as an example of “See? We told you she’s a bad worker that can’t keep a job” but here’s the thing: Hopkins is the primary reason why I lost this job. If they didn’t raid me, I would have been very likely to keep this new job. It doesn’t say anything about me as a worker because this is something that happened to me, not something I did to myself.

I mean, if Hopkins is so innocent and right, like the OIE letter pretty much claimed, why are they using such harassing tactics that practically makes it seems they’re out to get me? Even the EEOC feels that the raid is very excessive.

And it gets worse from here: At the end of this month (April), my 6 month apartment lease is up. I’ve scrounged for rent prior but here I am again asking for donations. And it turns out the car payment didn’t go through like I thought so I’m asking for help with rent and car, yet again. Especially to prevent the car from being taken because, that’s the only way I can maneuver around this city and state, for my mental health and for job acquisition. I’ve just gotten a letter today from the car people that basically states that I didn’t pay (funny they wait so long to tell me this) and that I have pretty much until the end of the week to fork over the funds before my car is gone.

Here are the numbers:

Rent: $1,284.00 (partial March rent and April rent)
Car payment: $324
Insurance: $235

Here are the ways to donate:

New YouCaring! So not to confuse anyone with the original YouCaring I had prior.

Also, people said they wanted to donate but didn’t want to do so via YouCaring and asked about Paypal. Here are your two ways to donate via Paypal:

Directly: Send donations to thisblackwitch@hotmail.com

Using the Paypal donation link: Click me! (this allows you to donate once or continually (like a subscription))

As per usual, I’ll be keeping everyone updated the best I can about what is going on. I just wish this situation wasn’t as bad as it is currently becoming.

Alright, a little thing during my issue with Hopkins University happened and while I was basically going through one of the worst experiences of my life, being illegally fired from my job but before being raided as repercussion for talking about it, a post had happened across my personal FB timeline about Blackthorn Hoodoo Blend teas, created and made by Amy Blackthorn, a relatively big name in the Pagan community. If some of you all will remember, I reviewed the tea itself in an Open Box Review for Sabbat Box. I liked how it smelled and the tea tasted pretty decent but it’s that name. I really dislike the name.

Amy Blackthorn is White, Hoodoo is Afro-Caribbean (and so am I). Blackthorn doesn’t have any major background in Hoodoo culture or traditions to the point that it would be okay for her to use the name for part of her business moniker, which she is making money from. Also, the teas don’t have any connections to Hoodoo anything in culture, taste, type or anything, “hoodoo” is basically just a name. That’s cultural hijacking. She doesn’t donate or assist to Black communities, she doesn’t talk about race or anything that could possibly be seen as a saving grace. Nothing. It would have been better for her to simply name them “Blackthorn Celtic Blends” and that would have been at least a bit more accurate than “Hoodoo”.

I’m simply commenting as a normal person, not Black Witch, about the tea. Unfortunately, Blackthorn thought it would be smarter to block me than actually talk about her business choices head on because somehow being neglectful is a great business practice, even on the pages of their friends (Blackthorn and I have a mutual friend, that’s why we could interact, I was just commenting to my friend talking about the tea, I didn’t know Blackthorn would be about).

Prime business practices here

Prime business practices here

Blackthorn’s comment, as you could guess, was basically “Why don’t you like the name?” It was my responses that basically got me blocked from seeing future comments from Blackthorn. Apparently she must not like when being challenged about her business’ name. Which leads to wonder: “Why did she name it that if she didn’t want to deal with the package that comes with it?” I wasn’t even being snarky or nasty, just explaining my reasoning.

When I got blocked, I totally didn’t see it coming, I thought my FB was acting odd because I was on mobile:

 I really didn't know what happened, I've never knowingly been blocked before from causing butthurt

I really didn’t know what happened, I’ve never knowingly been blocked before from causing butthurt

Annnnnnnnd here comes a random person, out of nowhere but super predictably because Paganism is excruciatingly White, so I really shouldn’t be surprised. They’re defending the name choice. Remember, I’m Afro-Caribbean, they’re not. I don’t practice Hoodoo but it is more part of my culture than it is theirs, a White person. Also, it is because of Whiteness that Hoodoo is seen the way it is and with such the rep it has. There’s a whole cultural issue that is still very much ongoing because of this.

You can almost hear the "Feel the Bern, I'm not racist. I have a black guinea pig and I pet my Black friends always"

You can almost hear the “Feel the Bern, I’m not racist. I have a black guinea pig and I pet my Black friends always”

Here’s the thing…”Hoodoo” has everything to do with race. Part of how Hoodoo was born was literally from slavery because slave-owners did everything they could to rip and destroy cultural ties as a psychological tactic to mindbreak a mass group of people and turn into obedient and ever-fearing slaves. Same reason why slaves learning how to read and write was illegal, among other things, which still stretches quite a bit into modern times. Like education and jobs, for example. None of which I’ve ever seen Blackthorn remotely talk about. You want to have Hoodoo be considered worldly for all (read: White people) to use and do whatever with? Then get ready to talk about all the baggage that comes with it. The people lynched. The people oppressed. The people stolen. The people dehumanized into animals. The people brutally murdered. The people who rarely get to see justice. The people widely hated. Can’t approach that topic? Then maybe Hoodoo and Voodoo aren’t your bag. Try Wicca.

Hoodoo was mainly a clever way for Black people to retain and practice cultural beliefs and ideas cobbled together. Blackthorn has absolutely no idea what that is like or to have something of the sort in your cultural heritage, background or anything. Hoodoo, like Voodoo, is usually synonymous with “evil”, “dark”, “wicked”, “superstitious”, “dark people dancing in the night over feverish drums hexing innocent people they don’t like”. Stuff like that. Germanic, Roman and Celtic practices in Paganism are seen in a better, much more comforting light.

I try to explain to the person why the name is problematic.

2016-01-01-18.32.22.png.png

Now, it’s more than just Blackthorn who blocked me, several supporters of hers did that, mainly the people you saw that I responded to. Everyone, this is a bad idea. Why? Because even if no one lobbed epithets at me or anything, blocking me in refusal to talk about a racial issue they caused, it’s still racist. It’s still racism to blatantly use a word in reference to a culture you’re not part of for business purposes and to silence any and every one that calls you out on it. It’s still racism to not want to listen to people from that cultural background trying to explain to you why it’s racist. Bigotry comes in many forms and not all of them are abrasive and overt. Sometimes it’s just making sure to turn a conversation about Black historical and cultural beliefs into a “Whites Only” forum.

Blackthorn, in trying to duck an actual, non-aggressive conversation about the name of her business because it is problematic, is being racist about the whole thing. Racism isn’t all burning crosses and voting for Trump, it can be as quiet and simple as simply saying, “This is mine and I won’t listen to anyone about it because I don’t care, I just wanna make money.” Geez, if she were richer and hated her own gender, she could match Trump in idea. How much you wanna bet she finds that guy abhorrent…despite thinking just like him?

Her tea bins may as well be air, what’s the point patronizing her business? Even if she posted “Black Lives Matter”, it’s pretty clear she doesn’t genuinely feel that way. And people think White liberals and White Pagans are progressive. Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. But hey, what does she care? It’s just business.

Instead, here are some actual Black owned tea online stores:

Wystone’s World Teas

Wystone2

Look at that vast selection! And the prices are really good! A basic skim of the site seems like the average price is $6.95, it’s pretty great! There’s even a tea blog to learn new teas and types.

SoRen Tea

SoRen

This site looks really nice. The prices are greater but it’s moreso high-end. Try them out!

Update (April 1, 2016, 6:50 PM):

I posted this column to Twitter, including Blackthorn (@MorrigansWitch) in the tweet:
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This is literally what I get less than a couple minutes later:
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Seriously? How was I supposed to learn anything about her, her stance or anything? She blocked me the second she noticed I wasn’t a glowing review, not actually talked to me. It would be one thing if I had a convo with her, then posted this like nothing happened but newp, she basically blocked me from the get-go.

How I responded:

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Of course, in prime business sense, she is ignoring me. She’ll probably whinge on later about how I still don’t know anything about her and made an assumption from a quick interaction…that she, herself, axed so there wouldn’t be any continual discussion of any sort.

Everyone, especially White Pagan business owners, this is a really bad way to handle a problem. If you don’t like dissent, tackling head on is probably your best bet… or avoiding the thing that would get you dissent, like not picking a name that becomes racist on its face. If she talked to me originally, something that was her fault she didn’t do, this could have been pretty different. It’s a number of reasons why I didn’t like how she responded, all of which I already mentioned. This is basic business sense. She can’t complain “OMGZ, U dun know meh!” when she literally made sure that I wouldn’t be able to. Because she blocked me before really chatting with me. Killing all chance I could talk to her, which is all I wanted to do.

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